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Substitute Senate Bill No. 519

Public Act No. 13-70

AN ACT CONCERNING TRAINING NURSING HOME STAFF ABOUT RESIDENTS' FEAR OF RETALIATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 17b-403 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(b) The State Ombudsman shall serve on a full-time basis, and shall personally or through representatives of the office:

(1) Identify, investigate and resolve complaints that:

(A) Are made by, or on behalf of, residents or, as to complaints involving the application for admission to a long-term care facility, by or on behalf of applicants; and

(B) Relate to action, inaction or decisions that may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare or rights of the residents, including the welfare and rights of the residents with respect to the appointment and activities of guardians and representative payees, of (i) providers or representatives of providers of long-term care services, (ii) public agencies, or (iii) health and social service agencies;

(2) Provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents;

(3) Inform the residents about means of obtaining services provided by providers or agencies described in subparagraph (B) of subdivision (1) of this subsection or services described in subdivision (2) of this subsection;

(4) Ensure that the residents and, as to issues involving applications for admission to long-term care facilities, applicants have regular and timely access to the services provided through the office and that the residents and complainants receive timely responses from representatives of the office to complaints;

(5) Represent the interests of the residents, and of applicants in relation to issues concerning applications to long-term care facilities, before governmental agencies and seek administrative, legal and other remedies to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents;

(6) Provide administrative and technical assistance to representatives to assist the representatives in participating in the program;

(7) (A) Analyze, comment on and monitor the development and implementation of federal, state and local laws, regulations, and other governmental policies and actions that pertain to the health, safety, welfare and rights of the residents with respect to the adequacy of long-term care facilities and services in this state and to the rights of applicants in relation to applications to long-term care facilities;

(B) Recommend any changes in such laws, regulations, policies and actions as the office determines to be appropriate; and

(C) Facilitate public comment on [the] such laws, regulations, policies and actions;

(8) Advocate for:

(A) Any changes in federal, state and local laws, regulations and other governmental policies and actions that pertain to the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents with respect to the adequacy of long-term care facilities and services in this state and to the health, safety, welfare and rights of applicants which the State Ombudsman determines to be appropriate;

(B) Appropriate action by groups or agencies with jurisdictional authority to deal with problems affecting individual residents and the general resident population and applicants in relation to issues concerning applications to long-term care facilities; and

(C) The enactment of legislative recommendations by the General Assembly and of regulatory recommendations by commissioners of Connecticut state agencies;

(9) (A) Provide for training representatives of the office;

(B) Promote the development of citizen organizations to participate in the program; and

(C) Provide technical support for the development of resident and family councils to protect the well-being and rights of residents;

(10) Coordinate ombudsman services with the protection and advocacy systems for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses established under (A) Part A of the Development Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (42 USC 6001, et seq. ), and (B) The Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986 (42 USC 10801 et seq. );

(11) Coordinate, to the greatest extent possible, ombudsman services with legal assistance provided under Section 306(a)(2)(C) of the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, (42 USC 3026(a)(2)(C)) as amended from time to time, through the adoption of memoranda of understanding and other means;

(12) Create, and periodically update as needed, a training manual for nursing home facilities identified in section 19a-522c, as amended by this act, that provides guidance on structuring and implementing the training required by said section;

[(12)] (13) Provide services described in [subdivisions (1) to (11), inclusive, of] this subsection, to residents under age sixty living in a long-term care facility, if (A) a majority of the residents of the facility where the younger person resides are over age sixty and (B) such services do not weaken or decrease service to older individuals covered under this chapter; and

[(13)] (14) Carry out such other activities and duties as may be required under federal law.

Sec. 2. Section 19a-522c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

A nursing home administrator of a chronic and convalescent nursing home or a rest home with nursing supervision shall ensure that all facility staff receive annual in-service training in an area specific to the needs of the patient population at such facilities, including patients' fear of retaliation from employees or others. A nursing home administrator shall ensure that any person conducting the in-service training is familiar with needs of the patient population at the facility, provided such training need not be conducted by a qualified social worker or qualified social worker consultant. A nursing home administrator shall ensure that the in-service training in patients' fear of retaliation includes discussion of (1) patients' rights to file complaints and voice grievances, (2) examples of what might constitute or be perceived as employee retaliation against patients, and (3) methods of preventing employee retaliation and alleviating patients' fear of such retaliation. In accordance with section 19a-36, the Commissioner of Public Health shall amend the Public Health Code in conformity with the provisions of this section.

Approved June 5, 2013